Recovery centers struggle, with Maine on track to reach record-high overdose deaths


The Mills administration launched the Third Quarter Drug Overdose Report on Monday, January 11, indicating 380 individuals died from January by way of September.

MAINE, USA — Maine is on monitor to see extra overdose deaths in 2020 than in 2019 — and presumably set a brand new document excessive.

On Monday, January 11, the Mills administration launched the Third Quarter Drug Overdose Report, which signifies the state has counted 380 drug overdose deaths thus far in 2020, and that is simply by way of the third quarter. That is the identical quantity of people that died of drug-related deaths in complete in 2019. The third quarter deaths in 2020 are up by about 24 p.c, in comparison with the third quarter in 2019 — of these, 348 had been unintended, 23 had been suicides, and 9 had been undetermined. Greater than 81 p.c of deaths had been attributable to multiple drug, and 83 p.c concerned any opioid.

RELATED: Though down in 3rd quarter, 2020 total drug deaths expected to ‘significantly exceed’ those in 2019

The report signifies this enhance is probably going due partially to points introduced on by the coronavirus pandemic, like isolation, issue accessing medical providers, and alterations within the drug provide. Courtney Evans is a medical counselor for the narcotic treatment program at Northern Gentle Acadia Hospital. She says heroin is not simply heroin anymore — it is typically laced with fentanyl (50 to 100 occasions stronger than heroin) or generally carfentanil (an analog that is 100 occasions stronger than fentanyl). 

Evans says the primary plan of action at Acadia is to get individuals into therapy, which might embrace medication-assisted therapy, particular person and group remedy, and a program to assist individuals study coping and relapse prevention abilities. Evan says an emphasis on psychological well being is crucial.

“There is a vital correlation with psychological well being and substance use,” Evans mentioned. “What they’re discovering is that there is a vital quantity of trauma that a variety of the people (who) have turned to substances have been by way of in some unspecified time in the future of their lifetime. Trauma is…subjective.”

RELATED: New addiction treatment center in Brewer takes on ‘non-judgmental’ approach to recovery

Restoration facilities and sober homes across the state have seen the consequences of the pandemic first hand. Theresa Mastricolo is the supervising supervisor on the Mid-Coast Restoration Coalition’s Women’s Recovery Residence. She says they have been capable of keep full (with a six to eight mattress capability) and have had profitable releases this yr — however that has include elevated duty.

“I believe it is protected to say that we actually functioned as caseworkers to get individuals settled,” Mastricolo expressed. She says they’ve needed to work round some obstacles. Because the facility is small, Mastricolo and her workforce make it a precedence to select the “proper individuals”. They created in-house restoration conferences to fight the pandemic and have discovered methods to maintain residents protected from COVID-19 — however there have nonetheless been robust moments and large losses.

“This was our first yr, 2020, that we had an overdose in a home, and we misplaced anyone,” Mastricolo mentioned tearfully. 

RELATED: New recovery houses in central, eastern Maine designated for women

The Third Quarter Drug Overdose Report signifies the Maine counties with the very best drug demise charges at this level are Penobscot County (19 p.c), Cumberland County (18 p.c), and York County (15 p.c). James Rickrode is the vice chairman of the seven Fresh Start Sober Living House areas in Penobscot County. He says this yr has been difficult due to a scarcity of connection. Particular person Contemporary Begin homes can maintain in-person restoration conferences, however crossover cannot occur due to the pandemic. Most different restoration facilities within the space are distant — and he says fewer choices to attach with others in-person has been troublesome for some individuals. 

“We have seen lots of people who usually make common conferences each day — and that is an enormous staple to the restoration — not make conferences,” Rickrode mentioned grimly. 

As somebody who has skilled habit himself, Rickrode is aware of what hopelessness and desperation can really feel like. It is why he says it is “disheartening” when he has to show individuals away as a result of the 50 or so beds of their homes are full. In terms of suicide and different losses inside the restoration neighborhood, Rickrode says there have been “exponentially” extra in 2020 than in years previous.

“Particularly for the reason that climate’s gotten chilly by way of the vacation season, , I’ve seen a rise in suicide,” Rickrode famous.

It is a reminder that each quantity has a reputation that must be remembered.

“If you cannot bear in mind to place a face on it and to humanize what’s occurring, then I do not assume we will make the best selections on how we will help stop it,” Mastricolo mentioned.

RELATED: Initiatives in central, eastern Maine aim to help people in recovery access telehealth

In case you’re in want of assist, you may name 211 Maine to seek out sources close to you.

Evans says there is no ready checklist for the narcotic therapy program at Acadia. You’ll be able to name 207-973-6048 to get related. Rickrode says Contemporary Begin is all the time accepting functions for brand spanking new members searching for protected and reasonably priced housing in a restoration residence setting. You’ll be able to name 207-307-1292 or e mail to study extra. 


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